Connect a Minimum Personal Concurrent Milsestone Relating Their Lives Theories Concepts Assocated Milestones
Examples of Adolescent Danger
Adolescence can be a particularly difficult time period in the lives of most people. These crucial few years (spanning between 13 and 20) represent the formative stages in a person's development that will eventually solidify into adult characteristics that will remain, for the most part, for life. As such, there are a number of crucial processes that adolescents go through while emerging from childhood and before arriving into adulthood. During these tumultuous years many will incur increasing levels of responsibility that are mitigated with rewards and potential entrapments that are all typical steps in maturation. Yet as great as the results of a happy, healthy adolescence may be, there is infinite potential for people to falter and succumb to their fledgling developing minds, bodies, and most importantly, emotions during this critical juncture. Many of these potential pitfalls are detailed within [WHATEVER THE NAME OF THE TEXTBOOK THAT THESE READINGS COME FROM]; a number of the concepts that various experts have denoted within these works are readily elucidated by an examination of concurrent milestones with the personal experience of the author of this paper.
Of the myriad stages of development that adolescents go through, those related to cognitive processes appear the most formidable and to yield the most long-lasting repercussions -- particularly when they exert an effect upon an individual's emotional state, as the vast majority of them intrinsically do. Of the plethora of phenomena that rears itself during adolescence, the propensity for individuals to engage in risky behavior that can sometimes yield dangerous, fatal results, appears the most staggering and the most worthy of consideration within this document. Whereas conventional psychological methods have stumbled reaching a consensus as to what causes such behavior that is prone to risks in teenagers, more recent research indicates that one of the primary causes for these adolescent proclivities balance between the cognitive processes of the socioemotional network and those of the cognitive control network . Whereas the latter of these dictates rational behavior including executive functioning, the former is "especially sensitive to social and emotional stimuli, that is particularly important for reward processing, and that is remodeled in early adolescence by the hormonal changes of puberty" (Steinberg, 2007 p. 56). According to Steinberg, in many instances the cognitive control network becomes subverted when social and emotional pressures is exerted upon the socioemotional network by an adolescent's peer group, which may result in risky behavior including overconsumption of alcohol in large quantities, delinquency, as well as reckless driving (Steinberg, 2007, p. 56).
I can recall an instance of just such an effect occurring to my own brother a few short years ago. Virtually no one could dispute his intelligence and command of his cognitive-control network, nor his propensity to engage in rational behavior. He was on the honor roll each of his four years in high school, and had a first trumpet seat in the school's orchestra since his sophomore year. Our parents were very strict, and even though he got his driver's license when he was first 16, he was never allowed to drive with his friends on weekends.
Therefore, when he graduated high school last spring, he was given a huge privilege when he was allowed to attend his graduation party and drive to it. Although his curfew was set at 12:30 P.M., he actually did not return home until well after daylight. When he did, he was not alone. A police officer had followed him home and waited until he parked in the garage to cite him for driving under the influence of alcohol. The officer told my father how he had spotted my brother driving erratically in traffic at such an odd time of the day.
This situation directly correlates to what Steinberg was stating about the influence of peers on one's emotions. Although my brother knew he should not drive while intoxicated and that he was supposed to be home at curfew, he later explained to my parents that influence of his friends, who urged him to deviate from his typical behavior just this one night, compelled him to forsake my parents instructions and those of the law. Steinberg explains this tendency of teenagers to engage in risky behavior by putting it in terms of reward and risk.
…risk taking is the product of a competition between the socioemotional and cognitive-control networks… In the presence of peers or under conditions of emotional arousal, however, the socioemotional network becomes sufficiently activated to diminish the regulatory effectiveness of the cognitive-control network (56).
In the preceding example of my brother, his emotions were overwhelmed by the social influence of his peers, which made him put the short-range reward of drinking and driving over the long-term reward of retaining the privilege to drive with a clean record.
A look at other literature in this field reveals the fact that there appears to be a link between the social aspect of adolescent life and their emotions. Although the balance between the two disparate cognitive networks (that of the socioemotional and that of cognitive control) often conflict with one another in adolescents, it is significant to note that other factors can provide negative impacts on the former of these as well. One of the principle ways in which teenagers develop is socially -- many teenagers develop attachments to their friends and regard social settings and peer groups with a sense of importance to the development of their selves. Neglecting this social aspect can lead to negative influences in the life of adolescents, particularly in settings in which there are no social circumstances and this crucial facet of adolescence is neglected. A good example of this occurrence is found in examining teenagers who work, either in place of or in addition to attending high school A review of Work Experience and Psychological Development Through the Life Span by Jerry Jacobs reveals that, "long hours of work can lead to detachment from school and an increased risk of dropping out," form nay teenagers, especially for those whom "their first jobs were often alienating, as relatively few received support from a mentor or coworker to help them adjust to boring, repetitive, and closely related jobs" (961).
Another personal example can exemplify this concept and attest to the veracity of the aforementioned quotation. I have been employed as an usher at a movie theater for most summers since I was a sophomore in high school. Although working there was merely a means to monetary compensation to help pay for some of my college expenses in the fall, there are many other adolescents who work there fulltime and all year round. My close friend James was one; he neglected to apply for college because he knew that he could obtain a fulltime job at the cinema. However, there is a discernible difference in him now when I return to work or even just see him around our time. James and I both played in the marching band in high school. While I still take electives in music and cling to our once common dream of playing professionally, James has lost all of his enthusiasm for music. He always complains that he is too tired to practice, and that all of his time is spent working. Once summer ends, most of the employees at the theater are older, and the town is somewhat deserted once everyone goes back to school. In such a way has James' job effectively alienated him from his friends and former interests.
Lastly, it is important to note the effects of divorces on adolescents, particularly those who are close to one or both of their parents. My friend Jesse's parents divorced nearly three years ago, and there has been a drastic…